Reading and Writing Analytically Rhetoric and The Rhetorical Situation
What is Rhetoric?
The study of effective, persuasive language use.
The faculty of finding all the available means of persuasion in a particular case.
The faculty (ability)
all the available means (everything a writer or speaker might do with language)
of persuasion (writers and speakers aim to shape people’s thoughts and actions)
in a particular case (rhetoric capitalizes on specific situations)
“ Analysts ought to be able to determine, by drawing inferences, 1. the exigence (motivation to write), 2. the primary and secondary audiences, and 3. the intention or purpose of any text they analyze.”
Exigence (the need to write) Ethos Purpose (intention) Audience Logos Pathos Organization/Structure/Form Diction Imagery Syntax Fig. Language Speaker Subject Audience Rhetorical Situation Appeals Surface Features Tone Tone
Of Finding “ all the things a writer or speaker has done (in a text being analyzed) or might do (in a text being produced) to shape people’s thoughts and actions – that is, to achieve meaning, purpose, and effect.” Finding What? So, What is That?
“ people, either immediate or mediated over time and place, capable of responding to this writing”
“ what the writer or speaker hopes the audience will do with the material presented: make meaning, realize its purpose, recognize its effect”
The logical appeal – the “embodied thought” of the text – the central and subsidiary ideas that the text develops for the reader to “take home.”
Build Logos by
Facts, data, reasoning, and perspectives about the issue from experts
Substantiate the claim, a generalization, or a point about the issue
Acknowledge a counterargument: concede a point but refute the argument
Analyst must be able to show how the speaker capitalizes on unspoken assumptions he or she thinks the audience already believes about the issue at hand.
“ Showing how a text can emphasize the good sense, the good will, and the good character of the writer and thereby become more credible .”
Appeals to ethos often emphasize shared values between the speaker and the audience
Appeal to the emotions or states of life of readers
Use of figurative language, personal anecdotes, and/or vivid, concrete description
Words with strong connotations
Visual images often carry strong emotional appeal
The writer or speaker’s apparent attitude toward the subject matter and issue at hand.
Tone is established somewhere between logos and ethos and logos and pathos
How to Detect Appeals
Analysts detect appeals by drawing inferences based on the arrangement and style (diction, syntax, imagery, figurative language)
Analytic claims about the appeals/tone are ARGUMENTS and need to be supported with evidence (details) from the text.
So, analysts must focus on and scrutinize words in the text to see how they forge logos, ethos, pathos, and tone
What is the function?
To introduce a central idea
To narrow a text’s focus
To divide text into small parts
To compare/contrast before and after
To address objections to what has been said
To promote author’s credentials
To add emotionally charged material
In other words …
What difference does the structure of the text make on meaning?
How does the organization influence the appeals to logos, pathos, and ethos and the establishment of tone?
So how do the diction, syntax, imagery, and figurative language, mediated through the organization of the whole text, establish logos, ethos, pathos, and/or tone?
How to …
Goal of an Analyst
How to …
Determine what the text means?
What are its primary and secondary intentions or purposes?
What effect you think its author intended it to have on its audience?
Why was the author compelled to write it?
Who are its immediate and mediated audiences?
So what I am doing? Diagram
How does the text mean what you say it means?
How does the text realize its purpose?
How does the text achieve it effects?
How does it make clear its exigency?
How does it address or evoke its audience?
How does it announce its intentions?
So what I am doing?
If, during an analysis, you decide to start your discussion with logos, ethos, pathos, or tone – you need to drill down through organization/structure/form to the surface features that you believe create the appeal or tone in question in order to achieve the author’s purpose.
If you start with a surface feature like diction, syntax, imagery, or figurative language then you need to show how these elements, mediated through the organization of the text, constitute logos, ethos, pathos, and/or tone achieve the author’s purpose.
PART 2 Diagram
So what I am doing? Part 2
Regardless of the starting point, the writer needs to show how these elements provide clues about the exigency, audience, and intention – even though sometimes these things are plainly stated.
You will probably focus on the text’s most salient aspects – diction and ethos, intention and details of imagery.
PART 1 Diagram Goal
Diction, Syntax, Imagery, Figurative Language, Schemes and Tropes
Is the diction formal or informal?
Does the writer use I or we or you?
Are there contractions?
Does the text use any specialized jargon?
Are the sentences long, short, varied, periodic, loose, standard-subject-verb-object or subject-verb-complement?
Are they primarily in active voice?
How do the passive sentences function?
Are there any visual, auditory, or tactile images?
Are there any schemes?
What do the schemes do - add, omit, provide parallel balance, provide antithetical balance?
Are there any tropes?
What are the principal metaphors being used?
How are comparisons and contrasts brought about by tropes other than metaphor? Can we detect any irony or sarcasm?
As an analyst, a rhetorical analyst, you must establish a dialectic (investigation of truth through discussion) between what you conclude is the meaning/purpose/effect of the text and how you perceive its parts, working together to achieve these ends.